Ongoing road construction translates to “good things” for Pasco County — that was the message that Pasco County Commissioner Ron Oakley brought to The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce’s breakfast meeting.
Oakley was the chamber’s featured guest speaker on Sept. 19 at Bayfront Health.
Speaking to a crowd that numbered in the dozens, Oakley provided updates on several priority projects.
Among the projects he discussed:
- State Road 56 extension: The $65 million four-lane project — which extends from Meadow Point Boulevard in Wesley Chapel, 6 miles east to U. S. 301 and State Road 41 in Zephyrhills — should be complete within the next 18 months to two years, Oakley said. “You can see that it’s already being worked through, and there’s already lime rock at U.S. 301.”
- State Road 54 (Curley Road to Morris Bridge Road): This project involves the widening of State Road 54 from Curley Road to east of Morris Bridge Road. State Road 54 will be widened to six lanes from Curley Road to Foxwood Boulevard and to four lanes from Foxwood Boulevard to Morris Bridge Road. Oakley said utilities are underway, with the right-of-way acquisition process already complete.
- Interstate 75 and State Road 56 interchange: The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is slated to begin construction sometime next year on a $18.5 million diverging diamond interchange project for the 2.3-mile-long northbound exit. Such projects, according to the website DivergingDiamond.com, are designed to create fewer conflict points when traveling through them, have better sight distance at turns, shorter pedestrian crossings and wrong-way ramps that are extremely difficult to access. “They have one of those in Sarasota now, and it’s working very well,” Oakley said.
- Eiland Boulevard: Eiland Boulevard, stretching to Handcart Road, will be repaved, beginning sometime in November. Traffic signals also are coming to the intersections of Eiland and Handcart, and Eiland and Geiger Road.
Oakley underscored the importance of ongoing road projects in one of the state’s fastest-growing counties, particularly for major events like the annual Kumquat Festival in Dade City, which draws more than 40,000 people.